Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
The sun is dying; infested by a race of deep-space parasites known only as the Ramora. The Eldritch Monstrosities have spread like locusts through the solar system, consuming whatever light sources they can sink their teeth into. Left unchecked, these abominations will inevitably consign each and every planet in the sun's orbit to a slow, cold death.
Naturally, they'll move on to another solar system after that.
You are Shiner, a being of pure energy given form by an ancient suit of armor. From what I understand, you're basically a kind of intergalactic exterminator, tasked with ending the Ramora threat and restoring the sun to its former glory. If you fail, everything dies. No pressure, right?
In order to oust the Ramora from the sun, you're first going to need to save each individual planet. See, the entire solar system is peppered with what looks like the inner workings of some massive, ancient machine. This machine connects each of the planets to one another and, in turn, to the sun; it's also the mechanism through which Shiner will defeat the Ramora for good. None of that's really made clear to you, of course - it's all just conjecture on my part.
Whatever the reason, as Shiner, you'll have to make your way through a total of five distinct worlds before finally arriving at the sun. To help you along, you've got something known fittingly as The Glare - a focused beam of light which emanates from Shiner's eyes.
This light is pretty much the core mechanic of the game; as you progress through the solar system, you'll use it to make plants grow, defeat enemies, protect yourself from projectiles, and activate a whole array of different machines and devices. As you continue on, you'll also gain access to a gun, bombs, and a whole array of other upgrades.
By default, all weapons fire in whatever direction your character is facing; you can change direction through the use of a second set of keys (or, in my case, the other thumbstick; Glare feels as though it was essentially designed to be played with a controller). This adds a whole new dimension to the game, and leads to some pretty awesome segments (for example, sliding down the side of a mountain while fending off clouds of enemies.
The pacing of the game is such that no upgrade ever feels obsolete or poorly timed. Each stage is designed so that you'll have ample time to learn new abilities even as they challenge you to master everything else you've already got at your disposal; most segments have just the right amount of difficulty to be challenging without getting frustrating.
It probably helps that the game's downright gorgeous, as well. Glare is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful platformers I've ever played. The backgrounds are beautifully drawn, the lighting effects are fantastic, and the animation is top-notch. Even better, there's some nifty 2.5D effects that cause the terrain of each level to 'curve' as you get closer to the center.
I've only two gripes with the game: the first is its length. I was able to complete Glare in a single sitting; about two and a half hours worth of gameplay. The second is the boss battles. At the end of each world, you'll do battle with an infected 'core.' The basics of the battle are pretty much the same every time: clear away the shell with your glare, shoot at the unprotected center of the creature, rinse and repeat. Though each new core has a few new tricks up its sleeve, the battles do tend feel a little bland.
These are minor stumbling points. Glare is still a fantastic game - more so when you consider the fact that it's Phobic Studios first step into PC development. You can pick it up on Steam for $14.99.
Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed
Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.
Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.
Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
For those of you who've been living under a rock, Facebook recently purchased Oculus VR to the tune of $2 billion. Understandably, backers and developers alike were rather unimpressed, calling it a betrayal. As for me? I've never been more excited.
Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League
If you've played league, you've probably encountered at least one toxic player. If you haven't, there's a good chance that YOU are the toxic one. Don't believe me? Ask yourself if you've ever said any of the following...
Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.
Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.
League of Legends or DOTA 2?
The debate between Dota 2 and League of Legends has been raging almost since the two games were first released. But which game is REALLY the superior of the two?
Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs
Let's look at a few settings, worlds, and stories I'd love to see made into MMOs. I'm sure you'll agree, all the entries on this list have the potential to be downright awesome.
MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves
People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.
Censorship Spells Trouble for League of Legends Patcher
Internet filtering has been a hot button issue for the past several years. With the slow gutting of protective measures like Net Neutrality, and with governmental powers seeking an end to online anonymity, it's rather harrowing to see the slow progression of political and social policing of the internet. Recently, after about a year of lobbying, the United Kingdom enacted a piece of legislation that many have come to call the "UK Porn Filter." What the filter requires is for British ISP's to implement filters and controls, which are on by default, that will block access to "violent material," not imited to "extremist and terrorist related content," "anorexia and eating disorder websites," and "suicide related websites."